It was a huge weekend for USANA fighters. Timothy Bradley won a split decision over Manny Pacquiao to end the superstar’s 15-fight winning streak and take the WBO welterweight title. USANA’s Mike Lee also won a unanimous decision over a tough opponent.
LAS VEGAS — After the final bell of the biggest fight of his life, Timothy Bradley rode around the ring on sturdy shoulders. Later, the man they call Desert Storm rode into the press conference in a wheelchair. In between, he took Manny Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title and ended the megastar’s 15-fight, seven-year winning streak.
Bradley won the fight on a split decision that was as stunning as it was controversial. All three judges scored the fight 115-113, but two of them had the USANA-sponsored fighter winning one more round than Pacquiao, who also takes USANA products.
People will be talking about the decision for a long time. What hopefully doesn’t get lost is how a determined Bradley took everything Pacquiao had — including several clean lefts that seemed to momentarily daze Bradley — and somehow continued to get stronger as the fight wore on. All of this is even more amazing in light of the fractured left foot Bradley suffered in the second round and the right ankle he twisted in the fifth.
Despite the injuries, the still-undefeated Bradley was able to more effectively box Pacquiao in the later rounds, dancing away from punches, sticking, moving, and throwing counters. It was a change in tactic that worked — on the scorecards, and to keep Bradley away from the kind of punches Pacquiao landed earlier in the fight.
High-Powered Action From the Outset
The action started early in Round 1, with Bradley standing toe-to-toe with Pacman. Almost each subsequent round kicked off with Desert Storm taking the action to Pacquiao, chasing him with a left jab. Early in the fight, the eight-division champion would return with fast accurate combinations, frequently backing Bradley against the ropes. Both men would end each round featuring a flurry of punches that left the crowd cheering.
After catching Bradley on the chin in the fifth, the future Hall of Famer and Filipino congressman was never able to put him away. Bradley said he caught his second wind in the sixth, ducking power punches and dancing away from Pacquiao, who would tap his gloves together egging on his 28-year-old opponent.
Chants of “Manny” and “Bradley” continued to go back and forth, eventually running together as they did all night. The late rounds featured plenty of action, as well. Pacquiao hit Bradley solidly in the ninth, only to have the WBO junior welterweight champion come right back at him. Two judges had Bradley winning six of the last seven rounds. Before Desert Storm went out for the 12th and final round, trainer Joel Diaz told his fighter he needed this round to win the fight. Bradley did just that, chasing Pacquiao back at the top and traded punches later on, winning the round on all three scorecards.
It turns out Diaz was right. The announcement of the split decision hit the MGM Grand Garden Arena like a bolt of lighting. Screams of joy and agony erupted from 14,206 people, all with different emotions, but a shared sense of shock.
“I feel great, but I’m not satisfied,” Bradley said in the in-ring interview, barely audible over cascading boos from the predominantly pro-Pacquiao crowd. “Let’s do it again.”
That’s something Bradley had been advocating all week. At the press conference on Wednesday, he came out with an oversized fake ticket for Pacquiao-Bradley 2 — a move that looked to be more stunt than premonition at the time. There’s a rematch clause in the contract, and Pacquiao seemed game. November 10 is the tentative date, but nothing is set in stone just yet.
Opinions will vary on the fight, but one thing is for sure — USANA’s Timothy Bradley is now a name people know. But most importantly, he’s now a four-time champion with belts in two weight classes, and determination that, unlike his left foot, can’t be broken.
Big Win on Friday Night Fights for USANA’s Mike Lee
A night before another USANA fighter sent shockwaves through the boxing world, Mike Lee ran his undefeated record to 9-0. The USANA-sponsored light heavyweight won by unanimous decision — 59-54 on all three scorecards — against a tough opponent, Eliseo Durazo, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“I’m happy with the win,” Lee said in a phone interview the day after the fight. “Obviously I always want the knockout, but that was a really tough guy. In fact, he had gone on with a top contender before me and he has never been knocked down or knocked out.”
It was Lee’s first action in the ring since he had surgery on his powerful right hand. The seven-month break created problems, of course. Lee said it wasn’t easy to find his rhythm again, and he was hesitant early with his right, which he only started throwing six weeks before the fight. He said the hand was doing fine after the fight, and didn’t even need any ice.
The win was never really in question. Lee looked strong through his first full six-rounds in the ring, controlling the action with a jab and clearly outmatching Durazo. The jab was the key to the victory, Lee said, and it should be a valuable tool to score him points and setup combinations going forward.
His jab wasn’t the only thing he credited for the win. Lee said his consistent use of USANA’s HealthPak™ — he doesn’t miss a single AM or PM pack — also helped him in the fight. There’s also the solid support he gets from the USANA family who show up to all his fights.
“It’s really incredible to walk into the arena and see so many Team Lee T-shirts and USANA badges,” he said. “They’re loud supporters, and coast-to-coast, USANA has been terrific for me. It’s great to see the USANA family support me. I can’t tell you how much it means to me.”
His next fight hasn’t been decided on, but whoever it is, and wherever it is, Lee knows USANA’s products, and people will be there for him. “I have a long, tough career ahead of me and this is the kind of sport that having that type of support is really important,” he said. “Globally they’re such a huge company, so whether I’m fighting in Vegas or out in London, no matter where I am out in the world, I’ll have that USANA support, and that’s a huge thing for me.”
Various Press Mentions
Timothy Bradley and the $1 million worry-free drug testing guarantee — ProBoxingFans.com
Timothy Bradley interview: I’m going to win by any means necessary — ProBoxingFans.com
Bradley’s Trainer Wanted Peterson To “Whip Khan’s Ass” — Boxingscene.com
Bradley the forgotten man in upcoming Pacquiao fight — SFGate.com
Bradley ready for anything in preparation for Pacquiao bout — Las Vegas Review-Journal.com
Timothy Bradley determined to beat Manny Pacquiao — Los Angeles Times
Former Irish star Mike Lee wins to keep career on track — USA Today
*The mentioned athletes are either distributors or dedicated users who have received compensation for his/her partnership and/or complimentary USANA products.